American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is a voluntary health organization whose mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research.[1]

American Lung Association
In 1919 several hundred Philadelphia school children form a living TB double cross, the logo of the American Lung Association
AbbreviationLung Association
Motto"It's a matter of life and breath." (previous)
"Fighting For Air" (current)
Formation1904 (as National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis)
PurposePreventing lung disease and promoting lung health
HeadquartersChicago, IL, United States
National President and Chief Executive Officer
Harold P. Wimmer
-National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (1904 (founding)–1918)
-National Tuberculosis Association (1918–1968)
-National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (1968–1973)
-American Lung Association (since 1973)


The organization was founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis as the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis by Edward Livingston Trudeau, Robert Hall Babcock, Henry Martyn Hall, Lawrence Flick, and S. Adolphus Knopf. Earlier in 1892, Flick had founded the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the world's first society dedicated to the prevention of TB. The NASPT was Renamed the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA) in 1918, and then the National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (NTRDA) in 1968; it adopted its current name in 1973.

Taglines that the association has used in its public-service messages have included:

  • "It's a matter of life and breath,"
  • "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters," and, currently,
  • "Fighting for Air."

In 1907, the Lung Association began their Christmas Seal campaign to raise money for a small TB sanatorium in Delaware. Emily Bissell, a Red Cross volunteer at the time, created holiday seals to sell at the post office for a penny a piece. By the end of her fundraising campaign, she had raised more than ten times the amount needed to save the sanatorium, and the tradition of Christmas Seals was launched.[2]

The association is a defender of the Clean Air Act.[3]

An American Lung Association booth at a local 5k race in Kansas City.

In October 2018, the association launched its school-based initiative, "Yoga Power", a program designed to increase awareness of the importance of lung health, at Woodward Elementary School, in Delaware, Ohio.[4]

Logo and tagline

A modified version of the Cross of Lorraine serves as the Lung Association's logo.[5] The Paris, France, physician Gilbert Sersiron suggested its use in 1902 as a symbol for the "crusade" against tuberculosis. The double barred cross was originally used in the coat of arms of Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, a leader of the first crusade and elected ruler of Jerusalem after its capture in 1099.[6][7]

The national tagline "Fighting for Air" was introduced in 2010 to emphasize the organization's role in reducing particulate pollution in the atmosphere and in public places.[8]


The American Lung Association is a public health organization funded by contributions from individual donors, corporations, foundations and government agency grants. One of its best-known fund-raising campaigns is its Christmas Seals program, which has been an annual fundraising and public awareness tool for tuberculosis and lung disease since 1907.

The Lake Tour Bike Trek is an annual bicycle ride held at Illinois in early June with all donations going towards the American Lung Association of Illinois.[9] The Trek Across Maine, a similar bicycle ride in Maine, has raised more than $24 million since 1985.[10]

Notable participants

The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis held their ninth annual meeting in Washington D.C., May 8 and 9, 1913. In attendance were Association President Homer Folks, Honorary Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, Vice Presidents Robert Hall Babcock, Sir William Osler and Edward R. Baldwin, Treasurer William H. Baldwin, Secretary Henry Barton Jacobs. Notable life members included Andrew Carnegie, Henry C. Frick, Mrs. H. Knickerbocker, Louis Marshall, Francis E. May, Cyrus H. McCormick, Henry Phipps, John D. Rockefeller, Rodman Wanamaker, Felix M. Warburg. The association members recommended a public health committee be formed by The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis and be officially sanctioned by the United States House of Representatives. In addition, they adopted the double red cross emblem formally as the symbol for the association and its fight against tuberculosis. The National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis executive offices were located at 105 East 22nd Street, New York, New York.[11] Henry Martyn Hall of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is one of the ten original founders and was honored at the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the National Tuberculosis Association at Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1954.[12] U.S. President Grover Cleveland was an honorary vice president from 1905 to 1908; U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was an honorary vice president from 1905 to 1919.[13]


  1. About the American Lung Association, American Lung Association, retrieved March 9, 2015.
  2. "History of Christmas Seals". American Lung Association. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  3. Defending the Clean Air Act, American Lung Association, archived from the original on February 12, 2012, retrieved March 9, 2015.
  4. "Yoga Power". American Lung Association. 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  5. Akin, Marjorie H.; Bard, James C.; Akin, Kevin (2016). Numismatic Archaeology of North America. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 9781315521329. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  6. Staff writer (n.d.). "The Cross of Lorraine – A Symbol of the Anti-TB "Crusade"". TB Alert. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  7. "History of the Double-Barred Cross". Alberta Lung Association. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved November 18, 2006.
  8. New Branding and Successful Campaign Spotlights How the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air", retrieved November 20, 2015.
  9. American Lung Association of Illinois: News and Information
  10. May 16, ohtadmin | on; 2018 (May 16, 2018). "Brunswick hosting Trek Across Maine | The Times Record". Brunswick Times Record. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  11. Barton Jacobs, Henry (1914). "The double red cross tuberculosis emblem, standardized". British Journal of Tuberculosis. 8: 5–8. doi:10.1016/S0366-0850(14)80023-9.
  12. Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. May 16, 1954.
  13. Knopf, Sigard Adolphus (1922). A History of the National Tuberculosis Association: The Anti-tuberculosis Movement in the United States. National Tuberculosis Association. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
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